Renovations near completion at Oxford Lake, Oxford Civic Center
by Eddie Burkhalter
eburkhalter@annistonstar.com
Mar 24, 2013 | 10505 views |  0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
OXFORD — Friday afternoon, men wearing stilts were busy with sanders in hand, readying the highest reaches of Oxford Civic Center’s interior walls for painting.

The $7.7 million project, begun in July 2011, includes extensive renovations of the center and gym and the addition of a two-story wing on back of the 37-year-old building. The work should be complete by the end of April, said Don Hudson, Oxford’s parks and recreation director.

The result will be room for the ever-increasing growth of the Recreation Department’s many programs, Hudson said, meaning the facility will be able to host larger groups, parties and organizations.

“Before, if we had a hundred people that came in and wanted to meet, for the most part we had to put them in the gym,” he said.

Once complete, 12 new meeting rooms with a combined capacity for 720 will be able to host convention-sized groups, Hudson said. Several of the meeting rooms have state-of-the-art projection and sound systems.

Inside the 1,110-seat gym, electronically-controlled bleachers have replaced the old wooden bleachers, and the freshly-applied finish on the new basketball floor was wet to the touch Friday afternoon. The gym’s performance stage received new lighting and sound systems, while on each side of the stage automatic projection screens retract from the ceiling.

Two exercise rooms on the center’s second floor will provide spaces for free weights and exercise machines, and outside the center, expanded parking and entrances on both sides allow for better access to the center, Hudson said.

Just across from the civic center, the $2.8 million renovation of Oxford Lake is expected to be complete in July.

Concrete retaining walls along the edge of the lake and island are nearing completion, and several of the pylons have been installed that will support three new pavilions out over the water. After the pavilions are constructed and lighting and landscape work done, the lake will be ready in time to host Oxford’s Fourth of July celebration.

Staff writer Eddie Burkhalter: 256-235-3563. On Twitter @Burkhalter_Star.

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